Ryan Dalton knows just how violent the streets of New Orleans can be.

“I was shot three times with an AK-47, I sold drugs, I mean I pretty much did any and everything that at-risk and high risk individual do,” said Dalton, 24.

After surviving gunshot wounds and mourning his brother's murder, Dalton has turned his life around. And he's working to lift others out of a violent lifestyle, too.

“When you get a sense of hope and care like somebody out there cares, it gives you the power to want to be motivated and want to push on,” said Dalton.

Dalton coordinates the midnight basketball program for the mayor's comprehensive murder reduction strategy, NOLA For Life. Midnight basketball targets at-risk males between the ages of 16 and 25.

“I feel like if it pulled me out, I feel like that, it has the potential to pull much more than just me,” said Dalton.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu believes his one-year-old program is beginning to work, pointing to a 35 percent drop in murders in the second quarter of 2013 compared to the same time frame last year.

He said it's the biggest decline in years.